UK & World News

  • 8 June 2014, 21:35

Extremism Row: 'Firm Discipline' In Tory Ranks

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said a public feud between two senior cabinet ministers has been firmly dealt with by the prime minister.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat spat over allegations that their respective departments failed to address warnings over the Islamist "Trojan horse" allegations in Birmingham schools.

Mr Hague told Sky's Murnaghan Programme Prime Minister David Cameron has "insisted quite rightly on firm discipline," leading to an apology from Mr Gove and the resignation of one of Mrs May's top aides.

He said the matter had been dealt with "extremely firmly and directly," and the focus now must be on the results of an investigation into the extremism allegations.

Twenty-one Birmingham schools have been the subject of an Ofsted investigation after a letter referred to an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to seize control of governing boards in the city.

Ofsted will publish the findings of its investigation on Monday, with one of the schools expected to be found as "inadequate", with its management strongly criticised by inspectors.

Mr Gove is also to make a statement in the Commons, where he is set to face some uncomfortable questions from Labour.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt told the Murnaghan Programme Mr Gove's department had displayed "gross negligence" in failing to respond after warnings emerged about the potential radicalisation several years ago.

He said: "We need to know what he knew, when he knew it and why they failed to act."

Labour has further jumped on the spat between Mr Gove and Mrs May to suggest there is "chaos" at the heart of Government.

The rift became public after quotes attributed to a Department for Education source in The Times detailed Mr Gove's concerns about the Home Office's approach to tackling extremism.

The source also criticised Mrs May's counter-terrorism adviser, Charles Farr.

In response, a letter was released from the Home Secretary to the Education Secretary which said his department had failed to respond to the warnings.

A source said: "Why is the DfE wanting to blame other people for information they had in 2010? Lord knows what more they have overlooked on the subject of the protection of kids in state schools? It scares me."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said the release of the letter may have broken the ministerial code.

Mr Cameron, who was said to be "deeply frustrated" at the dispute, particularly the way it broke on the day of the Queen's Speech, ordered an investigation into the spat.

Theresa May's aide Fiona Cunningham subsequently resigned in connection with the Home Office comments.

Mr Gove wrote to apologise to MrFarr and the Prime Minister "in acknowledgement of his role" in the row.

He had earlier denied the row with Mrs May had damaged the Government, or that he was considering his position over his department's handling of the Birmingham allegations.

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